Eagle Awards Tonight

Wish me luck at the Eagle Awards tonight! Captain Britain and MI-13 is up for Best American Colour Comic. I'll be wandering the MCM Expo from this afternoon until Sunday, with two signings scheduled, but I'm always happy to sign stuff wherever you can find me.

I must say, I'm very pleased by the reaction to the Death issue of Action Comics. Thanks so much for the kind reviews, everyone. Cheerio!

Today is a Good Day to Buy Action Comics #894

Because it's the first day you can. (If you're in the USA.) And it's the one with Death of the Endless in it. That's the form of words I've settled on, because 'it's the one with Neil Gaiman's Death in it' sounded horrid, even and especially given the capitalisation. The preview seems to have gone down well. Do let me know what you think.

In other news, I, erm, seem to have written the highest selling Boom! Studios title of all time, which I'm sure is vastly down to a chap called Stan Lee, and considerably down to Boom(!)'s (where do I put that exclamation mark when there's an apostrophe?) marketing team, who do a fantastic job. My wife said 'when's the Mark Waid one coming out?' in a tone which suggested I wouldn't hold onto this particular honour very long.

See you at the Eagle Awards on Friday night. Until then, enjoy, erm, Death, and Cheerio!

Batman and Robin

Now it can be told: I'll be writing three issues of Batman and Robin (#17-19), starting November 24th. It's a last minute substitution before the new regular team comes on, but I'm regarding it as a major gig, and giving it my all, with my attempt at a new Batman villain. There's an interview about it here, and here's Guillem March's cover to #17...

I'm particularly pleased that the artist on the arc will be Scott McDaniel, whose work I enjoyed on Green Arrow and lately on Detective Comics. From what I've seen so far, he's knocked it out of the park again, adding some vicious details to what's already a dark and mad story.

Hope you enjoy it. Phew, that's another secret project revealed! Until tomorrow (and Death), Cheerio!

Things to Come

The Fortean Times Unconvention was great fun. I got to meet a great many people I'd only known from their byline in the magazine, talk about UFOs over dinner, and see the sort of lectures you don't get anywhere else. Richard Freeman has found the Orang Pendek in Sumatra (just about), the Rendlesham Forest UFO was thoroughly debunked, and there was footage of what looked like a tiger roaming Australia. I also got to test my 'psychic abilities', which involved dowsing (not a twitch), guessing what a person was like from their possessions (more deduction than divination, I think) and imagining what was in a box. I'll let you know the results when I hear. Levels of attendance and enthusiasm seemed high. My own lecture will at some point be available on video via FT I'm told, but I may also sort out a print version somewhere.

Next weekend is the MCM Expo in London, where I'll once more be wandering about and spending time with my peers in UK comics. I'm doing signings (at the table in the Comic Village Info Area) at 1pm on the Saturday and noon on Sunday. And on the Friday I'll be attending the Eagle Awards, where Captain Britain and MI-13 is nominated in the Favourite Colour Comic Book (American) category.

I wouldn't normally share a positive (or negative) review with you, but this one, concerning my story 'Secret Identity' in the Wanted anthology I found tremendously heartening, for what it says about me as much as for what it says about the story. I'd like to thank Colin Smith very much for his kindness.

This Wednesday/Thursday Neil Gaiman's Death of the Endless comes to Action Comics, and you can see some preview pages of her appearance here. I may well talk some more about this midweek! It prompted one of my Twitter followers last week to say that he 'couldn't wait for Death'. Well, he was either talking about that or about my running jokes.

Oh, and some lovely podcasters from the North East Geek Feast interviewed me and (a first!) Jimmy Broxton at BICS the other weekend. Their efforts can be found here.

Until midweek, then, Cheerio!

The Fortean Times Unconvention

Yes, it's from tomorrow (see link at top right), and I'm on at 3pm, talking about Fortean themes in Doctor Who. I initially thought there wasn't a wide field of stuff, but I'm now looking at nine pages of material to zoom through in fifty minutes, plus slides. I've found interesting stuff concerning Buddhist sages, biorhythms, King Crimson, and a million different kinds of ancient astronauts. And Phil Ford ambushed me at the last minute with a Sarah Jane Adventures chock full of UFO mythology, so some last minute rewriting was required.

I have read every single issue of Fortean Times, and have all of them in one version or another, so this is me rather bringing my two lifestyle choices together. Doctor Who, being, at its best, an index of popular culture, neatly indicates what Fortean topics the public were fascinated by in what years. What's missing is as interesting as what got put in. (Phil, this week, was the first writer to mention 'alien abduction' in televised Doctor Who.)

Anyhow, do come along, and say hello! Cheerio!

It's Soldier Zero Day

The first issue of Soldier Zero, written by me and Stan Lee, and drawn by Javier Pina, is in American comic stores today!

And the first of many interviews on the subject from me this week can be found here.

Ten Things for Tuesday

Many good things from other people to report today, but, if you'll forgive me, I'll start with one of my own, this interview about my DC comics work, filmed at the San Diego Comic Con. (It came in literally a second after I posted the last blog.) I think it sums up my views on Lex nicely. And yes, as one commentator mentioned, I get Secret Origin confused with Adventure Comics.

Now to the ten proper.

1: Al Davison, the great comic writer/artist, who's been an advisor on my own work in the last few months, will shortly have a new collection out, Hokusai: Demons, with an introduction by Neil Gaiman. This is a video trailer for it, spotlighting the many different styles of Al's art, featuring quotes by Neil, Bryan Talbot, and others.

2: My old friend (and fellow Doctor Who New Adventures writer) Steve Lyons is about to make his DC Comics debut!

Steel #1 (with art by Sean Chen, who did the Grodd issue of Action) is the story of John Henry Irons, a genius in a powered suit (as Lex referred to him in my first issue) who Superman regards as a friend and colleague. It's out on January 5th, and you can read more halfway down the page here.. Do pick it up and make Steve's first US comics gig a success.

3: Mike Conroy is the editor of a new comics magazine Multiverse. The first issue will feature me talking about Boom! Studios' Stan Lee books amongst many other delights, and you can see a handsome 20 page PDF launch edition here. Why not send them a letter for their first issue proper?

4: Those lovely people at the BBC Archive have just put online thirteen episodes of a childhood favourite of mine, The Great Egg Race. It's a gameshow for techies, where teams have to get an egg unharmed from place to place in a small vehicle they build against the clock. You can't make an omelette, as they say. No, that's the end of the quote.

5: Doctor Who audio and Dead Ringers writer Nev Fountain has a new project, one close to all our hearts. The Mervyn Stone Mysteries are detective novels featuring a hero who was the script editor of a BBC science fiction TV series in the 1980s. The first three novels are out now, and you can read some sample chapters on the site.

6: Teresa Jusino, of this parish, in her latest column for Pink Raygun gets to the heart of current geek girl iconography, as represented in particularly extreme fashion in the video for that recent number one single by Cee-Lo.

7: Between now and November 19th, if you design the new logo for the Geek Syndicate Network you could win a copy of Bryan Hitch's new Ultimate Comics Studio book.

8: Kim Newman's short story Ubermensch has been made into a short film, directed by Simon Temple (a name which surely appealed to Kim)...

UBERMENSCH - Dir: Simon Temple
Uploaded by SFLTV. - Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

It's about the confrontation between the last hero of the Third Reich and a Nazi hunter, and is well worth sixteen minutes of your time.

9: Ian Culbard is one of my favourite British comic artists, responsible for the art on those gorgeous Sherlock Holmes editions adapted by Ian Edginton, the latest of which is The Sign of Four. (I'm told the look of their wonderfully energetic Holmes is based on Dan Dare.) He's also got an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness coming out next week. Check out his blog for some sample art and other delights.

10: And, courtesy of Simon Guerrier, who pointed out this extended version to me, wouldn't all James Bond pre-titles sequences be made better if the villain suddenly asked 'not a cricket fan by any chance, are you?'

I think it would work particularly well in Goldfinger. Until next time, Cheerio!

Exciting Things to Tell You

Well, the British International Comics Show in Birmingham was lovely as always. Spent ages chatting to Mike Carey, Nicola Scott, P.J.Holden, Nick Setchfield, Peter Hogan, Tim Pilcher, Pornsak Pichetshote and Phil Ford, who popped in for lunch. Knight and Squire artist Jimmy Broxton came out as also being event organiser James Hodgkins (they even have different signatures), and Jonathan Ross was charming and fannish, chatting to Tommy Lee Edwards on a big screen above him. I enjoy that convention very much, but one thing it could do with is a default bar or pub. The club on the first night was a bit impersonal, and after the guest meal on Saturday, there weren't many of our folk to be found at the Malmaison. There are times when a convention should declare which is their pub.

Okay, so the big news this week is that Soldier Zero #1 from Boom! Studios, by me, Stan Lee and Javier Pina, is out this Wednesday/Thursday (depending on which country your comic shop is in). We've been getting some excellent advance reviews, and I've done loads of interviews which will be popping up soon. You can see some sample pages here. Do check it out.

Next weekend I'll be going along to the Fortean Times Unconvention at the University of Westminster. On the Saturday at 3pm I'll be talking about 'Fortean Themes in Doctor Who'. And I've found out some interesting stuff, which might well be new to both Forteans and Doctor Who fans.

As for our guest villain in Action Comics #897... let's just say he'll be asking Lex why he's so serious.

I've got some new interviews up. There's one that centres on Action Comics here. There's one that's shared with Rob Shearman, the two of us recording an edition of the Boxcutters podcast, recorded at Worldcon in Melbourne, here or on iTunes. And there's one in the latest edition of online Doctor Who fanzine The Terrible Zodin.

Sometime this week I'll do a proper Ten Things blog with all the links that I want to put up here from other people. It's full already, because I've been working at high speed and am, frankly, not yet recovered from the weekend. Hope to see you at UnCon, or the MCM Expo the week after. Until then, Cheerio!

Knight and Squire This Week

The first issue of Knight and Squire, by me and Jimmy Broxton, is out tomorrow in the States, Thursday over here. Do take a look, I'm insanely proud of it. For one thing, the art is just extraordinary. You can check out one of Jimmy's fake adverts that'll be appearing in the book, plus see my message of apology (and jealousy, really) about not being at the New York Comic Con here. And you can see the first six pages (including one not in the preview featured in DC comics) here.

I'm going along to the Birmingham International Comics Show this coming weekend (always the best parties, always great to hang out with my peers in British comics), and I should think it's going to be pretty heavy on the Knight and Squire.

We checked out Doctor Who Live on Friday, having been invited because of the show's use of the Scarecrows from 'Human Nature', and were really pleased by it. Wembley Arena seemed full of children. Loads of screams for Matt Smith and at the monsters. It's not just a spectacle, but a proper story (in fact, a direct sequel to a Pertwee story), co-written by Gareth Roberts, with all his usual ironies. It's proper panto too, with the villain encouraging hissing and booing, and the audience being asked to get involved. All this, and Nick Briggs in the flesh! Backstage, the monsters chased celebrities' children through the hospitality area in a wonderfully into it way. In a packed tube train home, there were many young voices talking and talking about it. Great stuff.

And then there was the usual oasis of calm and kindness that is Newcon in Northampton, bigger than last year, but still a gathering of a friendly clan. I did much of what's going to end up as my ebooks blog (it's become kind of mythical now, isn't it?) as a live rant, and took part in a quiz show where Ian Watson tried to persuade us he'd once mooned the King of Norway. I appeared live on the Wordpunk Podcast (which you can listen to via the link or on iTunes) talking about ebook readers, with contributions from Pat Cadigan. I was also pleased to have a sit down with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbe, and talk mainly about how brilliant their small grandson Edward is. Even the venue of Newcon, the Fishmarket, is welcoming, with the kind of arty little cafe I always wish I stayed long enough to write in. Will pop in again next year. But... maybe not on the same weekend as NYCC next time?

For those who've asked (and thank you) Dad's still in hospital, so I've spent a bit of time taking Mum back and forth to see him. Physically, he's much better, but, and I gather this is a standard feature of recovery from certain conditions, he's still not quite with us. While completely lucid and himself most of the time, he maintains that there's a wonderful auction held in the ward, with toe-operated screens to bid on, and good prices on brandy. Thank goodness it's something happy, otherwise, programmed by SF as I am, I'd probably start to worry that it was true. Mind you, he did tell us that 'those strange people who come in here' had given him some cake... which he then produced. He's improving swiftly, so I hope I'll soon be able to tell him about these remarkably structured visions, which he sometimes begins with 'you'll think I'm hallucinating again, but...' And thank goodness we saw, on the way in last time, the helicopter which landed right outside his window.

Next week I'll do a bit of a preview for the 'Fortean themes in Doctor Who' lecture I've prepared for the Fortean Times Unconvention (click on the banner at the top right to go to their webpage) the weekend after next. And who knows, I might even manage the ebook blog sometime soon. Until next time, then, Cheerio!

Doctor Who Live and Newcon 5

Dad had a bit of a health scare last night, but it turned out to mean, hopefully, just the one night in hospital, so it looks like I'm going to take him home this afternoon. On oxygen, just out of the ambulance, when asked if there was anything he wanted, he managed to say 'a pint of beer'. Which, having heard it a few times, I think is code for everything's going to be okay.

So, concerning what I was going to blog about this week: sod that. Until next week, anyway.

On Friday night, we'll be going along to the opening night of Doctor Who Live at Wembley Arena. If you're going to be there, do say hello. But, you know, it's an arena, so I'll be that speck in the distance.

And on Saturday I'll be attending Newcon 5 in Northampton with fellow Guests of Honour Paul McAuley and Pat Cadigan, and authors like Juliet E. McKenna, Storm Constantine, Jaine Fenn, Ian Watson and Mike Shevdon. There's loads of entertainment, workshops, and I should think a lovely bar evening with the great and good of the SF world, which sounds exactly the thing right now. It promises to be a warm and lovely convention, and if you're new to these things a perfect place to start. So until then, Cheerio.

P. Craig Russell on his Action cover

The great artist talks about his variant cover to Action Comics #894.

Wow. I'm so pleased we got him. Cheerio!

Only Connect: Behind the Scenes

For those (living in the UK only, sorry) who missed last night's episode of the game show, which featured me, Geoff Ryman and Liz Williams as the Fantasy Writers team, here it is on the BBC iPlayer.

Being part of the show was an interesting process. The three of us went along to an audition, initially, where we played a version of the wall game using pieces of paper, and were marked more on the amount of useful chatter we produced than how much we got right. Liz revealed an extraordinary knowledge of the bits used in the mouths of horses, and Geoff talked the roof off, in that sweet, erudite way of his. If there's one part of the finished episode that strikes me as odd it's that we don't get to hear much from him, when he was so a part of the team dynamic.

We initially asked to be 'the SF writers', but it was said the audience wouldn't know what the abbreviation stood for. They proposed 'sci-fi', we reacted in horror, 'science fiction' wouldn't fit on the front of the desk, so we settled on fantasy. There were many rules about shirts of different colours and patterns, and Geoff, who'd also brought piles of quiz research material, which we swotted on the train, ended up wearing a borrowed one. They do take care of you, with a lovely PA sitting down with each team and guiding them through what's expected. By the time of recording, we were all quite relaxed, maybe too much so! We were obviously told what each of the hieroglyphs meant. Victoria Coren in person is businesslike, charming, and tends to take the side of the teams when there's a question over fairness or the specifics of an answer. One thing I really liked was that there was none of the expected mocking over our SFnalness or Liz's witchiness. There's another take of the introduction where she asks me who the best genre writer is, and I mention my team mates before settling on Christopher Priest. Not the rough and tumble I'd expected.

You know that moment I yell 'centipedes!'? I think I perhaps put a bit too much into that because it's a re-take. Something went wrong on the sound, and I had to deliberately get the question wrong a second time. I think the other team's careful reply sounds a bit arch too.

We knew we'd be crap at the missing vowels round, the length of which depends on how long the rest of the show has run. We had actually resolved to make lots of banter to limit the length of it. But as it turned out, we were a bit too much rabbits in headlights to try that. It makes my inner cricket fan ashamed that I didn't get 'England cricketer' and my inner Superman writer ashamed that I didn't know the details of Solomon Grundy's life. It was great to see Liz's knowledge of New York streets displayed.

But the worst bit for us was the wall. They've changed the device since last season, we were told, and the keypad to operate this one just didn't seem to respond to either me or Geoff's fingers. When you see us leave illuminated squares, we've generally kept hitting them and found they wouldn't switch off. Liz did rather better. After the round, there was a bit of a steward's inquiry, but it was decided that, since the other team had also had the same problems, it hadn't altered the result. And indeed, that was fair enough. That is rather the moment when we lose it, and go into our worst round way behind. And shouting about centipedes.

All in all, I'd recommend the experience. We had a great time, met a fabulous production crew, all of whom are devoted to the game being fair and the questions accurate, and went for a drink afterwards tired but happy. And I couldn't have wished for better company on my team. Next Tuesday, comic artist P.J.Holden is on Eggheads. Is this becoming a fashion? Cheerio!

Only Connect, io9, iFanboy and the Mighty Mur

Right, first up, me, Geoff Ryman and Liz Williams are on BBC4 at 8.30pm tonight on Only Connect, the fiendishly wonderful gameshow about connections. We are The Fantasy Writers, taking on The Bridge Players. It'll be on the BBC iPlayer (for those of you in the UK) for a week afterwards, and I'll be linking to it, as well as talking a bit about what the day was like, on the next blog. We had a great time, and I hope you enjoy playing along.

Secondly, the supermassive blog thing io9 has done an interview with me about Action Comics and Knight and Squire. I kind of... proposition the audience. I think I may like the audience too much. Or at least in the wrong way. No, don't take a vote.

Thirdly, you remember how excited I was to have Action Comics #893 chosen as iFanboy's Pick of the Week? Well, their podcast on the subject is now up, and available via iTunes.

And finally, the mighty Mur Lafferty has done an interview with me for the I Should Be Writing podcast, again, also available on iTunes. ISBW is a bit of a right of passage for any genre writing, and I'm proud, you hear me, proud!

Later in the week I'll be blogging about what I'd like to see from ebooks, then on Friday we're off to the opening night of Doctor Who Live at Wembley Arena, and at the weekend it's NewCon in Northampton. And I'm worried about the shrubs I just planted in our near vertical garden, and, hey, pages to write! So until next time, Cheerio!

Mass Masked Interview

Joe Mallozzi, the showrunner of Stargate: Universe has been kind enough to host a whole bunch of discussions about Masked, the superhero prose anthology I'm in, on his forum, as part of his regular book club feature. Today, he's got a bunch of contributors, including editor Lou Anders, Gail Simone, Matt Sturges and Marjorie Liu, answering readers' questions, and compares us each to a superhero. It's a lot of fun and you can find it here. Cheerio!